Health insurance plans are not created equal. Even if you are offered a health insurance plan by your employer, it may not be the best fit for your family’s needs. Before choosing which health insurance plan to go with, consider these seven tips to make sure you’re finding the right fit to ensure your family’s financial security should you need medical care in the future.
1) Know how you’ll use your plan
If you or someone in your family has a chronic condition, you may be looking for a plan that offers special coverage. If so, do some research on what your condition entails and how it can be treated—and then find out if these services are covered under your plan’s network.
2) Take advantage of free-agent services
A big advantage of free agent health insurance is that it allows you to take advantage of a large pool of coverage options. Many individuals end up paying too much for health insurance because they’re locked into an employer’s plan, and can’t change plans or providers if they find that their current plan isn’t right for them. With free-agent services, you have access to a large network of healthcare providers who can offer you better prices on individual and family coverage than major insurers usually do.
3) Consider what’s covered
When you’re choosing a health insurance plan, you’ll have to make sure your policy covers all of your family’s healthcare needs. Take a look at any prescriptions or vaccinations you may need, and make sure they’re included in your plan. Some plans may require specific doctors or clinics, so double-check to ensure that your preferred care providers are covered.
4) Understand your deductible
If you’re paying out of pocket for most health expenses and want to keep it that way, your best bet is a high-deductible plan. If you’re in decent health, with low or no hospitalization costs on your horizon, then there’s little reason to pay extra each month for a plan with low co-pays.
5) Think about your out-of-pocket maximums
How much are you willing to pay for your health insurance? If you’re covered under an employer plan, remember that there is usually a maximum dollar amount per year in which you’ll have to pay out of pocket for doctor visits and other medical services.
6) Familiarize yourself with co-pays and co-insurance amounts
If you’re signing up for a new health insurance plan, there are two types of costs to familiarize yourself with: co-pays and co-insurance. A co-pay is a flat fee you’ll pay whenever you receive care from your doctor, while a co-insurance amount is a percentage of any bill your provider sends out that you’ll be responsible for paying. Calculate what these fees will cost in advance so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay.
7) Ask the right questions when comparing plans
Before you choose a health insurance plan, you need to ask yourself a few questions. These include: what kind of coverage do I need? How much is too much? Can I afford it? Am I going to have access to doctors who are in my network and not out-of-network providers? How long will it take for an HMO or PPO patient to see a doctor or nurse practitioner compared with other plans?